Boeing Nova-class designs 1963


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14 June 2006
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Until now I personally knew of work done by Boeing in the early '60s for post-Saturn boosters only via a short hint in the fundamental "Nova and beyond" by Prof. Koelle. Found this on NTRS, it's fourth volume of a study on solid first stage Nova-class boosters done in 1963. First volume, covering the baseline design. is still unavailable, but it can be said that it was a huge booster (see figure 1) with 6 260-in dia monolithic solids as first stage and 5 M-1 cryogenic engine as second stage, plus an insertion stage for payload. Configuration was designated T65D and ha a launch weight of 38.000.000 lbs with a payload of slightly more than 1.000.000 lbs. Boeing studied a few more configuration using advanced technology: APM-67 and APM-41, using parallel burning of solids and a liquids, 7 modified M-1s for APM-67 and a thoroidal chamber liquid (Rocketdyne L-9H) for the -41; configurations AT-41 and AT-61 were tandem burning with 6 or 4 solids in first stage and 1 thoroidal chamber liquid in second stage. All advanced configuration had notably better launch weight and slightly higher payload than baseline.
Behold. As far as I known they hadn't been published before (rather strange).
Original report can be found here


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Boeing did not devote the level of offor to Nova class boosters that the likes of Martin, Douglas and General Dynamics did. I suspect that has to do with Boeing being the prime contractor for the S-IC... their interest was is seeing new applications for advanced versions of the S-IC, not in seeing the S-IC replaced.

Nevertheless, by the time Nova became "Post Saturn," Boeing did do some fair amount of design work on a very lage booster, the Modular Large Launch Vehicle. In it's simplest form it was an expendable SSTO with 1 million pounds of payload; by adding upper stages and up to 12 260-inch solids, that payload could go up to almost 4 million pounds.


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Yep, and magnificently illustrated in a past issue of APR (hopefully even more magnificently in an eAPR one) !
Skybolt said:
Yep, and magnificently illustrated in a past issue of APR (hopefully even more magnificently in an eAPR one) !
me too i have order that eAPR

back to Really big Boeing rocket
with solar powersat studies in 1976-77
Boeing present 1976 the monster SSTO "LEO" with 227 tonne payload
launch mass 10306 ton dry mass 841 tons.

Leo utilized twenty-four 4.5MN oxygen-hydrogen main engines
plus twenty-four 2.25MN lox-kerosene booster engines to generate a thrust-to-weight (T/W) ratio at liftoff of 1.3.
The booster engines would be shut down 127.4 seconds after liftoff.

Leo would generate so much noise that it would have to be launched from an
artificial lagoon located a few kilometers from the existing Shuttle launch pads at Cape Canaveral.
It would have been towed into a water-filled lock and then lowered to the launch pad to undergo servicing,
fueling and launch. The turnaround time was estimated to be four days.

Leo’s base heat shield would be water-cooled and the engine nozzles were to be protected by steam ejection.
A normal mission would last only one orbit to avoid reentry phasing problems since the vehicle would have a relatively limited crossrange capability.

The landing site would have consisted of a 5km diameter pond adjacent to the launch area.


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Funny thing, I have the Volume III of the report on my disk since a couple of days and didn't noticed. Problem is that the CR-number is completely different, they refer to different Phases of the contract, I think. Anyway, behold a fairly detailed profile of the T65D.
The original report can be found here Beware, it's big /16 MByte), and the first one is even bigger, 35 MBytes.


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Original Nova rocket was dead by early 1962, i.e. by the final abandonment of "moon direct". Actually, the subsequent studies were for a post-Nova and later post-Saturn vehicle.
Skybolt said:
Original Nova rocket was dead by early 1962, i.e. by the final abandonment of "moon direct". Actually, the subsequent studies were for a post-Nova and later post-Saturn vehicle.

...Correct. There were basically two "Nova" program concepts. The first one was intended for the "Direct Ascent" mode originally intended for the Apollo moon landings. Once Lunar Orbit Rendezvous became the chosen mode, the first Nova concept died. The name was resurrected and applied as a blanket name for all of the the BIG FRACKING HUGE BOOSTER concepts that started showing up in the late 60's - early 70's in reply to the calls for concepts relating to manned Mars missions, large permanent Lunar bases, and equally large permanent Earth orbit stations. The difference between the two programs can be determined by the size of the boosters. If it's anywhere near and slightly larger than Saturn V, it's a Direct Ascent Nova. If its about the size of the Battlestar Galactica and makes Saturn V look like a Redstone, it's a post-Apollo Nova.
Biggest "original, main thread" Nova had 8 F1s in first stage. "Original, parallel thread" were solid based like Boeing's, but designed by the like of JPL.
Found a new picture of "Big Onion"

it's labeled as "Low cost Heavy Lift Vehicle Concept"

found in on page 359-3 of
Future Space Transporation System Analysis study
Phase i technical report May 9, 1975


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